Yacht owners that have become active on the business side of the industry have called for active changes in its models during a panel at the Superyacht Forum in Amsterdam. This follows the launch of their platforms aimed at reducing charter by slashing booking fees. "Stop your disrespect." Ahoy Club's Ian Malouf advised the market.
Attending the panel were Australian businessman Ian Malouf, founder of Ahoy Club and fresh of a $578 million exit in the waste management space, Philippe Bacou, founder of Yotha and Matty Zadnikar, founder of SeaNet. All founded yachting businesses in recent years stepping over from yacht ownership. The debate was moderated by Martin Redmayne.
According to Malouf, his primary goal is to improve the market and his secondary one is to make money. "I think we’re portrayed as a one click and you’re there business, but we have a large team and we are a full-service digital platform." Malouf commented. "We have the cheapest structure in the business and we expect it will go lower before it goes higher."
Malouf's 54m Mischief
Historically resistant to change, yachting has reacted defensively in recent quarters to the entry of these new actors. Malouf described their behaviour as "cartel-like". According to Philippe Bacou, the market is responding aggressively due to the platforms reducing commissions.
"When you provide something that is automatic instead of manual it reduces costs. What we are doing is making savings here." Bacou detailed. "Of course, we all want to make money, but it comes down to global satisfaction."
Ahoy Club and Yotha's web-platforms power an online search of available yachts for charter, a digital booking process and communication system with the yacht and their concierge team. Thanks to automation, the companies say they can reduce booking prices by near 15%.
Bacou's 43m Philmi
“Their behaviour has been poor but expected,” Malouf described. “We’ve been treated like we’re coming into an industry of brokers who think they own the boats. Our pricing structure is cheaper and we’re being told by many that it’s not acceptable and that it is an act of price-fixing.”
When a representative from a large brokerage house asked Malouf whether it would have been better to go to industry bodies like MYBA or LYBRA and try to improve the sector from the inside, the Australian businessman responded.
"Sometimes you have to break things to fix things and that’s what needs to happen. You’re talking about joining arms and walking down the road, which we’re witnessing and it’s a behaviour that’s unpalatable. The question of why didn’t we go to the industry is the reason we are here. For you to even ask me that question is a joke."
One of Seanet's Benettis
"You expect me to bend a knee for the incumbent and say, is it ok for me to enter your industry? Well, you don’t own this industry and it needs a shake, is getting a shake and will be shaken by us. What happens in a market is you have a business and competitors come in and compete, and whoever provides the best service for the best price and for the best commodity usually ends up with the best business."
The representative responded, as the market typically retorts, saying large brokerage houses offer a knowledgeable brokers, which can't be matched by these digital platforms. Pointing out Ahoy Club has a concierge team, Malouf went further, saying some central agents won't present valid charters that Ahoy brings to them.
"A few central agents will block a charter from us getting to the owner. Our remedy to that is that we respect your CA agreement until you breach it by not recommending our choice. That’s when we’ll go to the owner – it’s simple and fair. We’ve done over 100 charter contracts so far – we make no money off the small charters but they’ll come through. You talk about building relationships and that’s what we’re doing."
Malouf, Bacou and Zadnikar all encouraged the market at the end of the debate to focus on the end client and not to skim clients for commissions. "Put your commission drive aside and focus more on what the client wants." Zadnikar outlined.
"Stop your disrespect." Malouf added on.
Matty Zadnikar comes from the safety monitoring space, having founded and run Z-Group for over 20 years. In 2014, the group was acquired by American industrial safety group Total Safety, which allowed Zadnikar to transform his yachting hobby into a business. Founding the company, Zadnikar announced an investment of €32 million to jump start SeaNet's fleet in the Med, which is based on a co-ownership model.
Made up of Azimut and Benetti yachts of up to 40 meters, the idea is to give owners an option to buy only part of a yacht and improve its efficiency. On a 93ft Benetti Delfino, priced at €9 million, SeaNet lets you buy a 25% ownership stake for €2.3m with annual running costs of just over €110,000 instead of €450,000. This set up grants buyers a total of 7 weeks of use of that type of boat in the SeaNet fleet for 7 weeks per year.
Ian Malouf built his wealth in waste management in Australia with the DADI Group that was ultimately acquired by Bingo for $578 million earlier this year. With the help of his daughter, Ellie Malouf, the two have now switched their attention over to yachting with Ahoy Club, a market that they're now positioning themselves to try and dominate.
Owner of the 54-meter Mischief, which Malouf is also marketing for charter through Ahoy from €137,650 per week in the off-season, the Australian businessman recently listed the yacht for sale at an asking price of €24 million.
Philippe Bacou also launched his yacht platform, Yotha, in 2018 after 15 years of experience on the ownership and charter side of the market. Earlier in 2018, the French businessman raised an additional €1.4 million from strategic investors to develop and launch Yotha. His 43-meter ISA, Philmi was delivered in 2014.
Rodriguez Design Studio in collaboration with Spanish shipyard Atollvic has presented a new 55-metre aluminium superyacht concept named Project Saona.The exterior design of Project Saona has been described as sporty yet elegant, featuring a sharp and aggressive bow. The vessel is fitted with an oversized swim platform, beach club and foldable balconies for maximised access to the sea. Dedicated tender storage spacious enough to house a Williams Dieseljet 625 tender and jet skis sits forward of the beach club. The latter is also equipped with a day head and storage for diving equipment.Other features on-board comprise a private owner’s terrace on the upper deck, large sunpads on the main deck and a large saloon flooded with natural light. A Jacuzzi with a sunpad would sit on the foredeck, shaded by carbon fibre awnings.Project Saona would offer accommodation to up to 10 guests across five cabins, including a 60-square-metre master suite. Other cabins lay on the lower deck, with two full-beam VIPs and two doubles.Propelled by two MTU 20V 4000 M93L, the yacht will be capable of a top speed of 22 knots and a range of 4,500 nautical miles at 12 knots. The studio’s founder Josh Rodriguez believes, that with her draught of only 2.1 metres, Project Soana would come out as an ideal yacht for Bahamas.
June 26, 2019
The first Venice Boat Show took place from June 18 to June 23, proving to be a reference for the world of recreational boating, strong of its dual commercial and cultural nature. The show reportedly received over 27,000 visitors.The objectives of the premises, summarised as “The Naval Art Back to Home”, were achieved. According to the organisers, the atmosphere amazed visitors, with multiple dedicated activities. During the Salone, 43 meetings were held to discuss all aspects of navigation: from the environment to sustainability and yacht design, accompanied by 8 exhibitions on the themes of boating, sea and transport.The Mayor of the city Luigi Brugnaro declared: Venice has returned as the queen of the seas in the widest cultural sense. <…> As a municipal administration, we have already financed the Salone for two more years. The goal we have set, is that the event becomes a fixed appointment and we have already started to collect registrations for the next edition. We want to have the whole supply chain, from small boats to big ones. During the show, the Ferretti Group deployed the Arsenal for the inaugural party of the 50-metre Riva flagship “Race” and for the world premiere of the motoryacht Custom Line 106.In future, the venue aims to respond to the needs of the shipyards that have their production units in the Adriatic and to those who sail along the tourist corridor that leads from Venice to Istanbul via Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece.
June 26, 2019
Legendary heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko and his family were rescued by the coastguards after the superyacht they were on-board had caught fire. The incident took place in the early hours of Monday about 11km off the coast of Mallorca, Spain.The Ukrainian sportsmen who had retired in 2017, tweeted a video of the rescue operation. The video depicts firefighters aboard the yacht, covered with firefighting foam. Fortunately, no one got hurt, stated Klitchko.Klitschko could be heard saying in the video:It's 3 in the morning. We're in the sea getting rescued from the Mallorcan/Spanish fire department. The boat was on fire, we're hanging out outside."Be careful what you wish for: fate took my wish for “some #adrenalin” a bit too literally and our boat-trip Sunday night ended up in our boat #igniting and family & friends being evacuated by coast guard and fire rescue-team. No worries: we are all fine!" - he wrote.According to German media Spiegel, the damaged vessel could have been a 28.14-metre Sunseeker yacht UM7.Palma's Maritime Rescue spokesman Miguel Chicon told CNN, the yacht's crew asked for urgent assistance once the incident occured. A coastguard rescue boat was sent for help and, once the fire was gone, they towed the damaged vessel to Port Adriano. However, during the towing further smoke came out from the engine room, forcing the crew to evacuate the passengers.The Maritime Rescue Service confirmed they evacuated nine people following the fire in the boat's engine room. No medical assistance was needed for the yacht's occupants, Miguel Chicon said.Klitschko, aged 43, was the world's most dominant heavyweight for a decade, reeling off 20 straight title bout wins. He retained his heavyweight title for over nine years, winning 64 out of his 69 fights. His last match took place in April 2017, finished with a knockout defeat by his rival Anthony Joshua.
June 26, 2019
Cristiano Ronaldo, a living legend of the football world and one of the highest-paid athletes ever, has shared pictures of his family holidays aboard a 47-metre Benetti superyacht Africa in the French Riviera. The photos were posted on the social media accounts of an athlete, whose yearly earnings were estimated at $109 million (Forbes). Africa is Benetti's FB501 hull, launched in Italy in 2010 and christened Imagination by her original owner. Two years later, she was put on the market through Camper & Nicholsons asking € 22,000,000. After price reduction up to €16,500,000, the yacht was sold through Camper in 2014 and renamed Africa. In 2016, she was listed for sale once again, with the deal closed in January 2018 at the asking price of € 16,750,000. The ownership meanwhile has not been officially confirmed. With a beam of 8.5 metres and a draft of 2.8 metres, the yacht boasts interior volume of of 492 GT. Built to an aluminium hull and aluminium superstructure, Africa features exteriors by Stefano Natucci and interiors by Francois Zuretti.The motor yacht can accommodate up to 12 guests across 6 cabins, including a master suite, four doubles and a twin cabin. As to the amenities on-board, Africa is fitted with a spacious Jacuzzi on the sun deck and a fully-equipped gym.According to The Sun, the yacht comes equipped with multiple water toys including two Seadoo RXP-X RS 300 Waverunners jet skis, one Seadoo 260 HP Waverunner jet ski, two F5S Seabobs, paddle board, wake board, and snorkelling equipment.Two MTU engines propel the yacht to a maximum speed of 24 knots and a cruising speed of 20 knots. Africa's maximum range is estimated at 3,400 nautical miles.
June 25, 2019
Benetti has announced the sale of the first superyacht to fly under Chinese flag, with a certificate issued by the China Classification Society. The 65-metre custom yacht FB270 continues the group’s success in the Asia Pacific area, following the recent sales of a Mediterraneo 116, Fast 125 and 50M custom yachts.Mr. Fu Buming, Port Administration Chief at the Department of Commerce of Hainan province, explains:Hainan is striving to become an international tourist centre, in accordance with the state’s general guidelines and requirements, in order to further develop the city as a first-class port tourism destination with a window to display world-class yachts and innovation within the global yachting industry.FB270 is a custom yacht with a steel hull and an aluminium superstructure. She features exteriors by Giorgio M. Cassetta in collaboration with Benetti in-house design team and Pierluigi Ausonio. The interiors present colourways reminiscent of the sea, beaches and tropical islands, with a design developed entirely in-house by Maria Rosa Remedi of the Benetti Interior Style Department.Some distinctive features on-board FB270 include the service bathrooms on every deck and a wealth of technical spaces and storage areas. Special care has been taken to separate crew flows from the guest areas to ensure maximum guest privacy.Peter Mahony, General Manager Benetti Yachts Asia, commented:The sale of FB270 shows that an evolution is taking place and that a market will adapt to its new environment if an open mind, hard work and can do attitude is shared by all parties involved.FB270 has been scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2021. Meanwhile, the sale represents more of an uncommon trend among the Chinese rich, who are keen to avoid buying private yachts. The same cannot be said for American customers, with just a recent order of a 67-metre superyacht from Benetti.
June 25, 2019